Tuesday, November 20, 2012

finger knitting with children

  A few days ago Naiya came home from school all excited about her new skill.  She learned finger knitting in her Waldorf kindergarten and was able to teach it to me herself in about three minutes.  (I love it when the craft sharing switches direction from daughter to mommy!)  I never knew this was so super easy.  It's much like spool knitting but done on the hand.  Since we've never been able to successfully knit on our little doll spool, (perhaps because we wind the yarn too tightly?) we were glad to find this simple alternative.

  I know many, many of you probably already know how to do this and, quite likely, there are lots of tutorials around on the internet but, what the heck, this project was so delightful for me, I'm just going to share here anyhow.

  I tried to photograph Naiya's demonstration, but it's a bit challenging to get a six year old to stop for a photograph each step along the journey of creation, so these are my dry, calloused hands you're seeing.  (Also, it's hard to take photographs of your own hands when one of them is holding the camera.  I hope it still makes sense.) 

1) Begin by winding the yarn around the thumb of your non-dominant hand a few times.

 2) Holding the ball of yarn in your dominant hand, draw the yarn over the index finger, under your middle finger, over your ring finger, under your pinkie...

3) Going back the other direction, the yarn will cross the opposite side of your fingers - over the pinkie, under the ring finger, over the middle finger, under the index...

4) Push this first back and forth round down toward your palm and repeat the same patterns from steps 2 & 3 - over, under, over , under and around the pinkie and back...

5) Push this second layer down toward your palm.

6) Starting with your index finger, tuck your fingertip under the lower loop and straighten the finger to push that loop to the back of that finger.

7) Repeat with each finger across so you're once again left with only one row of loops.  Your first row of knitting is complete.

8) Repeat a single round of winding - front, back, front, back around the pinkie, etc. to make the two rows of loops again.  Repeat the finger tucking and looping over as seen in steps 6 & 7.

Just keep repeating this process of winding to make two rows of loops then pulling the bottom loops up and over to the back until a chain begins to form on the back of your hand.  (You can release the wind around the thumb after the first round.  It was just meant to hold the yarn in place.)

Make the chain as long as desired.

Should you be working with children who tire of the activity before it is complete, Naiya suggested removing it from the hand by running a popsicle stick through the four loops to keep the project from unraveling.  Carefully place back on the hand when the child wishes to continue.

To finish off the end, cut the yarn with a few inches to spare and run the cut end down through the top of each of the four loops. 

After it has gone through the last (pinkie) loop, gently  slide it from the hand...

...and pull the end tight.

Voilà!  Finger knitted rope.


  Now, what do we do with all of these strands of beautiful handwork?


  1. You could us those strands as garland on your Christmas tree!!! I have a joke for you:
    Q:What do you call a dog that loves to take baths?
    A: A Shampoodle :)
    I figured she may like that one since you always blog her cute jokes. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    1. I'm going to post that joke soon! (Ryan just told us a great one about biscuits that will make it into the list as well.) Thanks Rachel :)

  2. We like to use finger knitting as garland on our Yule Tree too. She looks so cute with her little scarf!

  3. What a gorgeous daughter you have!! So lovely that she gets to teach you now!!!

    1. Thanks willowpoppy. I had to force her into these pics but they turned out shockingly well!

  4. Oh, what a good idea to use these to decorate our tree! I also found this great pillow tutorial: http://www.designsponge.com/2012/05/diy-project-chunky-finger-knit-pillow.html


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